Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No jury for the Urewera 18

Just before christmas, the High Court ruled that the Urewera 18, accused of firearms offences in a hugely controversial and highly political case, would be denied a jury trial. Today, that decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal. I have not seen the ruling yet, but the same criticisms I made of the original decision apply: a jury is the primary signifier of a fair trial in this country. Without one, we can have no confidence in the verdict. And that ought to be deeply concerning, no matter whether you think the accused are innocent or guilty.

This is an important issue, and I hope it is appealed to the Supreme Court. The public deserves to know whether the government can get away with this atrocity against justice.